Who started the March Madness tradition of cutting down the nets?


Who needs a trophy when you can take home the net? 

For decades now, champions throughout college basketball have waited patiently for the chance to climb the ladder and claim their stake of the net from the winning game. With each member of the team involved, it embodies so much of what makes March Madness so great. 

But that wasn’t always the case. For years, champions stayed firmly on the ground, celebrating among the fans. That all changed one day with a man by the name of Everett Case.

Here’s a look at the man in the center of the decades-long tradition.

Who is Everett Case?

Case was a longtime college coach and is credited with creating the tradition of cutting down the nets following a championship win. 

After 23 years as a high school coach, Case enlisted in the Navy and served as an athletic director at various flight schools.

He made his career, however, at NC State where he served as head coach from 1946 to 1965. 

What was Everett Case’s coaching record?

In his 19 seasons coaching at NC State, Case built a 377-134 record. He also won nine regular season conference championships, 11 conference tournaments and took the Wolfpack to their first Final Four in 1950.

When did Everett Case first cut down the basketball nets?

After securing his first conference championship as a first-year coach, Case started a tradition that lives on 76 years later. 

The 1946-47 Wolfpack beat North Carolina 50-48 in the Southern Conference Championship. Instead of simply walking off the court to celebrate -- like every team before had -- Case, who believed that every win was “something to be savored,” called his team back onto the court. Much to their confusion, he handed his players a pair of scissors and told them to take down the net.

From that point on, cutting down the nets became the staple of a successful championship run.

What other traditions did Everett Case start?

Case was a true entertainer throughout his career, a firm believer that every game should be a celebration. 

In addition to the cutting down of the nets, Case directed staff at Reynolds Coliseum to introduce his team with a spotlight and brought students from the band close by to create the modern-day pep band. 

He also reached out to the engineering school and instructed them to build a machine that measures sounds at Reynolds Coliseum. 

“It was just a guy with his finger on the button corresponding to what he heard … but people really believed in that thing,” said Bethany Bradsher, author of “The Classic: How Everett Case and His Tournament Brought Big-Time Basketball to the South.”

How did Everett Case’s coaching career end?

Case was forced to retire two games into the 1964-65 regular season after being diagnosed with cancer. He handed over the reins to assistant Press Maravich, father of future NBA All-Star and NCAA record-point scorer Pete Maravich.

What is One Shining Moment?

The show doesn’t end when the nets are cut down. Keep your TV on for a few more minutes to catch the annual video to Luther Vandross’s rendition of “One Shining Moment.” 

The song debuted in the 1987 National Championship and the video features footage from every single game -- and therefore every single team -- in the tournament. These shots range from on-the-court action to fans and cheerleaders to mascots that all participate in the tournament experience.

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